DALE MERLIN HANSEN, USMCR (DECEASED)
Medal of Honor Citation
Dale Merlin Hansen was born 13 December 1922 in Wisner, Nebraska. While attending the schools of Cuming County, he helped out on the family farm, and after graduating from high school in Wisner in 1940, he worked full-time on the farm. For relaxation he played sandlot baseball and softball or went horseback riding.
The five-foot-nine, 141-pound Nebraska farmer was inducted into the Marine Corps Reserve on 11 May 1944. He completed recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California, and was then assigned to the Infantry Training Battalion at Camp Pendleton, California, where he underwent four weeks of infantry indoctrination and two weeks of training with the Browning Automatic Rifle. With that weapon he turned in a score of 175 to become an Expert Automatic Rifleman.
Private Hansen sailed for the Pacific theater on 12 November 1944, with a replacement draft, and the following month, joined Company E, 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, at Pavuvu in the Russell Islands. There, he underwent "bazooka" training before sailing with the 1st Marine Division for maneuvers at Banika Island and Guadalcanal in February 1945. Late that March, after a few more days back at Pavuvu, the division left for Okinawa where Pvt Hansen landed with his unit on Easter Sunday, 1 April. The action which brought him the Medal of Honor occurred in the battle for Hill 60 on the southern part of the island where his determination and total disregard of personal danger helped his unit take a well-defended enemy position. Pvt Hansen was killed by a Japanese sniper on 11 May 1945 in the Wana-Dakeshi Ridge fighting.
The Medal of Honor was presented to Pvt Hansen's parents on 30 May 1946, by the officer in charge of the Midwestern Recruiting Division as part of Wisner's Memorial Day observance.
Private Hansen was initially buried in the 1st Marine Division Cemetery on Okinawa, but his remains were returned to the United States in 1948 for burial in Wisner, Nebraska.
World War II 1941-1945 Medal of Honor